Employment News Update: Employer justified in requiring Muslim worker to wear shorter religious garment

In this article, Makbool Javaid, Partner and Head of Employment law examines the facts and the practical implications arising from the EAT’s ruling in Begum v Pedagogy Auras UK Ltd. The EAT upheld an employment tribunal’s judgment, that a nursery did not indirectly discriminate against a job applicant when it made clear at interview that its uniform policy meant that any garment worn should not present a tripping hazard. This was not a provision, criterion or practice which indirectly discriminated against Muslim women who wore jilbabs (a garment which covers the body from neck to ankle), as the nursery allowed women to wear ankle-length jilbabs, so long as they did not endanger health and safety. Even though the issue of justification did not arise, as no prima facie case of discrimination had been shown, the requirement to wear a garment which did not present a tripping hazard would have been justified as being a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim: i.e. protecting the health and safety of staff and children.

This article appeared in the CIPD People Management Online Magazine on 8 June 2015

Link for CIPD members

Link for non-CIPD members: Begum v Pedagogy Auras UK Ltd